What’s in Season from the Garden State: Making Bucks from Clucks, Not Books

Student Sustainable Farm interns (l-r) Angela Polites, Peter Canavan and David Perotti.

Student Sustainable Farm interns (l-r) Angela Polites, Peter Canavan and David Perotti.

Historically, young people were taught a trade by serving as apprentices or learning the ropes from a relative in a family business. While modern education emphasizes learning through books, classroom and lab experience, academia has increasingly embraced the value of hands-on involvement and commonly provides students opportunities for fieldwork or internships.

Agricultural entrepreneurship offers its own unique set of challenges, since there is a business management component in addition to agricultural production. What better way for modern-day college students to learn both aspects than to run their own agricultural enterprises, right on the college farm? At the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS), a number of ag entrepreneurship opportunities have “cropped up” over the years. [Read more...]

How the Game of Golf Adapts to Global Warming

Want to see the future of turf grass? It’s growing at Rutgers University in a "library" of grasses on thousands of 4-foot by 6-foot research plots – 12,000 plots exclusively for bent grasses destined for golf courses…"We have by far the largest reserve of genes of cool-season grasses anywhere in the world," said William Meyer, director of Rutgers’ turf grass breeding program. "Our whole breeding objective is to develop turf grasses that require lower inputs – of energy, fertilizer, fungicide, and insecticide. We’re working on all angles."

Read the entire article at ScientificAmerican.com »

Alumni Story: Phillip Alampi, ‘Mr. Garden State’

Secretary of Agriculture Phillip Alampi with bees on his farm in Pennington, New Jersey. Date: 1966. Source: Department of Agriculture Photograph collection, NJ State Archives

Secretary of Agriculture Phillip Alampi with bees on his farm in Pennington, New Jersey. Date: 1966. Source: Department of Agriculture Photograph collection, NJ State Archives

Editor’s Note: One of the most prestigious honors conferred on alumni of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is induction into the Hall of Distinguished Alumni (HDA). The School of Environmental and Biological Sciences is proud of its 16 HDA honorees. This is one of a series of stories about them.

A first-generation American, Phillip Alampi was born in Philadelphia and grew up on a small farm in Williamstown, N.J., in Gloucester County. He graduated from Glassboro High School, where he was active in Future Farmers of America and 4-H. After graduating from Rutgers in 1934, he taught high school vocational education in Salem County for 10 years, and in 1945, he earned a master’s degree in Agricultural Education from Rutgers.

The following year, he became a farm broadcaster, and for the next decade he hosted popular radio and television shows, many of which were co-hosted and produced by his wife Ruth. His agricultural morning program was based in New York City at WJZ (now WABC) and then at WNBC and WNBC-TV. The programs made him a spokesman for the farming industry. [Read more...]

Female Farmers Focus of Webinar

In 1900, almost half of U.S. residents made their living on farms. Now it is barely 1 percent. There are about 800,000 full-time farmers in America today. According to the last census, fewer than 20 percent are women. In 2011, Annie’s Project N.J. started to encourage women to put their hands to the tiller and to equip them with the knowledge to be successful. The Aug. 15 webinar held at the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Center was one of those tool-building exercises. Jenny Carleo is agricultural agent in charge. Carleo oversaw the webinar, which was being conducted from a remote location by Dr. Barbara O’Neill. This was the third training in a series of five being conducted under the Annie’s Project N.J.

Read the entire article at CapeMayCountyHerald.com »

Alumni Story: Nick Vorsa, Better Cranberries Through Science

Nick Vorsa in cranberry research bog.

Nick Vorsa in cranberry research bog.

Nicholi Vorsa (Cook ’76, GSNB ’85) is director of the Philip E. Marucci Center for Blueberry and Cranberry Research and Extension in Chatsworth, N.J. He and his team have developed new varieties of cranberries that have offered many improvements for commercial production. The story of his work in collecting cranberry germplasm and mapping its genome appeared in the May, 2014 issue of Fruit Growers News, reprinted here.

Rutgers breeding program puts science first

The process leading to the release of breakthrough cranberry varieties at Rutgers University represents a nearly 30-year evolution. Driving the program to these heights has been Nicholi Vorsa and his colleagues. [Read more...]